First ASA Win Comes In Front Of Big Crown, Busch Owner
Reed Sorneson has been frustrated. He's already signed a contract to race with Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. He is a Ganassi product. He's been in ARCA races racing for Ganassi and has even won one already this year. He's a future star.
But he's not yet been able to grab that elusive first ASA victory in more than two years of trying.
Well, that all changed on Thursday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Sorenson, who never raced outside of the top-four all night long, grabbed the lead from Bryan Reffner on lap 52 and never looked back, taking the win in the Aaron's 99 in front of a large crowd of fans and many interested Cup and Busch Series teams, including his Busch Series team owner Ganassi, who was in Reed's pits during the night.
“It took a long time to get here,” said a relieved Sorenson
in Victory Lane. “So it will take about that long to get this smile off my face I think. I'm so happy to win in ASA. I only had two more chances to do it. Midway through the race, I knew we had a good car. I felt like Dale Jr. at Daytona. I just tried to keep a car and a half length lead out there and I knew I'd be ok.
“Being here in Charlotte makes it more special. I would have been happy either way though, I just wanted to win one of these races. Being here at Lowe's on this weekend just makes it a little bit better. It is a nicer facility, so it is pretty cool. We've got a good Victory Lane to celebrate in and everything. I'm pumped.”
Reed knew the lead would give him a cushion because the race proved that passing was tough.
“We could stay with him, but it was tough to pass,” said second-place finisher Bryan Reffner. “You just had to be a whole lot faster or anticipate something going wrong with someone and take advantage of it.”
The turning point of the race came off of a late restart when Sorenson got a good jump on Reffner and passed him down the backstretch. From there, it was Sorenson's race to lose.
“We got a good run on that restart and were able to get through one-two without any trouble and made the pass on him (Reffner). I was really watching for him at the end though. You could get a run on someone if they got out too far in front of you. Once I saw where he was the last five laps, he just stayed that distance away after a while.
It is the second major win for Sorenson this year, following up his ARCA win at Michigan earlier this season. He was leading the ARCA race at Charlotte back in May, but a little bit of damage his car suffered after running over some debris caused him to lose that race.
“It’s pretty neat to come back here under the lights and win this race,” added Sorenson. “I would say this (win) is a little more special though. We've been working so hard on this one. We've been trying to get this thing in victory lane and we finally did it. People don't realize this is just me, my dad and a couple of guys working on this car and that is all. This is big. This is special.
Once Reed (#29) got around Reffner (#80), there was no stopping him.
Reffner had one of the three dominate cars of the night (along with Mike Garvey, who got into a mid-race accident with Todd Kluever, taking him out of contention), but just failed to get the job done. However, Reffner, who also dominated at Kentucky last month before fallling out because of an overheating problem, was able to hold on for a top-five and solid points run on Thursday.
“We had our air pressure set for longer runs. Once Reed (Sorenson) got around us there, we had nothing for him. We probably should have anticipated all the cautions. We actually didn't have that many cautions, but they just took a long time. He got us on that restart and that proved to be our error.
Mike Garvey (#17) was a factor until he was involved in a wreck with Todd Kluever (#55).
“I was hoping for it to go green to the end. We didn't need that caution at the end cause I knew we couldn't' get past him then.
“After Kentucky, the pure disappointment we had there, this is a great run for us. It was good for me, it was good for the team. We just go on from there.”
Jay Middleton came home a strong third place, with Kyle Krisiloff finishing fourth and Stephen Leicht fifth. A big accident involving Krisiloff, Todd Kluever and Brett Sontag marred the finish of the race, however all drivers walked away ok.
Speed51 will have much more on the night to come later this week, so stay tuned!
Reed (center) celebrates his with with his parents Brad and Becky (right) and Busch Series owner Chip Ganassi (left). (Bob Milner Photos)